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Eight Common Challenges to Robust Cloud Security Featured

Cloud computing offers many technical and financial benefits to businesses, and companies are taking advantage of the offerings of cloud providers at an ever-increasing rate. Despite the numerous advantages, the move to the cloud is not without its challenges. 

As organizations continue to migrate mission-critical workloads to the cloud, many are finding it difficult to implement the necessary security measures to protect corporate data assets. The first step in alleviating security gaps is identifying them. Here are eight of the most common security challenges facing cloud computing customers today. 

  • Data breaches - The loss of sensitive or valuable data resources is the most pressing security issue for most companies. No single technique will adequately protect a business from potential data breaches. A combination of many of the following potential security flaws can result in a data breach.  
  • Insecure APIs - Customers typically communicate with cloud resources using documented application programming interfaces (APIs). The same documentation available to a client’s technical team can be used by hackers to compromise target systems. Customers need to ensure they have properly locked down API access to their cloud environment.  
  • Poor identity access management (IAM) - Failure to implement and enforce strong IAM policies and procedures leaves the door open for data to be accessed by unauthorized personnel. This can lead to a data breach perpetrated by malicious internal or external actors as accounts get misused or hijacked.  
  • Lack of visibility - A poor understanding of the scope of data resources residing in the cloud affects many organizations as they migrate workloads. A well-defined migration strategy and the implementation of tools to provide visibility into cloud applications are essential for resolving this security issue. 
  • Shadow IT - Cloud resources are often very easy to obtain and scale. Users may be making use of unsanctioned cloud applications to get their work done. These apps are outside the scope of corporate oversight teams and can purposely or inadvertently result in compromised security.  
  • Lack of cloud security skills - Cloud computing requires a different approach to security. Customers’ internal teams may not have the necessary skills to address the new challenges posed by the cloud. Training and the right set of tools can help close this security gap.  
  • Inadequate change control - Change control is critically important when dealing with a distributed environment that may encompass on-premises and cloud resources. Faulty changes can lead to misconfigured systems that expose systems to unauthorized access or other types of cyberattacks.  
  • Inability to maintain regulatory compliance - Security and compliance go hand-in-hand for companies operating in regulated industries such as healthcare and finance. The ability to keep sensitive data secure is mandatory and monitored by various regulatory agencies. Compliance with standards can be complicated when cloud infrastructure components are introduced to an environment.  

Companies need to address these challenges to robust cloud security to realize the full potential of cloud computing. The cost of a data breach can quickly eliminate the financial benefits of cloud infrastructure. These challenges are not insurmountable but need to be faced with open eyes by organizations moving to the cloud. 

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 Robert Agar

I am a freelance writer who graduated from Pace University in New York with a Computer Science degree in 1992. Over the course of a long IT career I have worked for a number of large service providers in a variety of roles revolving around data storage and protection. I currently reside in northeastern Pennsylvania where I write from my home office.

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